tv 2020 ABC November 21, 2014 10:01pm-11:01pm PST
what happens when your best friend betrays you and steals your money? an all new "20/20" now. the ugly, ugly allegations seemed almost unbelievable. how could this man do what these women are alleging? >> tonight on an all new "20/20," who can you trust? bill cosby's worst week. he's not talking. he even asked a reporter not to talk. >> isht appreciate it if it was -- >> but the women are. and a new accuser coming forward. >> do you think you have a credibility issue? >> tough accusations, tougher questions. the cosby chaos. plus, he's got one of the biggest names in online buying. the craig behind craigslist. >> it's a serious question and they call it -- >> why? on the site, recalled items are still for sale.
dishwashers like this one or this baby seat or wooden chest. is your family using one tonight? calling out craigslist. and -- >> i just want it to stop because there's so many people who have been hurt by her. >> the best friend from hell. she knew everybody, loved everybody, and allegedly robbed everybody blind. then taunted them with finding her on instagram. >> she's one step ahead of the game every single fricken' time. >> she's about to make a big mistake. >> you messed with the wrong girl. best frenemies. plus, this nightmare nanny couldn't turn off our cameras. >> we're just here to get your side of the story. >> tonight, we're asking the question -- who can you trust? here's elizabeth vargas and david muir. good evening. tonight yet another new woman coming forward late this week to say that business cosby, america's one-time favorite da dad, drugged and assaulted her.
she put cosby back to a very unwelcomed spotlight. >> i spoke to her just a few hours ago. she echoed what others said. who would believe them? speaking out against one of the most popular and powerful figures in television. tonight, some of the tough questions on both sides. who will you believe, and who can you trust? >> reporter: bill cosby is back on tv, but it's not the comeback he was looking for. more and more women accusing the comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting them. >> and i remember being over there and not having any clothes on. >> reporter: you were naked. tonight in this, her first network television interview, therese seringese tells "20/20" about her experience with bill cosby when she was a 19-year-old model visiting las vegas in 1976. she says in cosby's private dressing room after a performance, he handed her some pills. >> and he said, "take these." >> reporter: did he tell you what they were? >> no. >> reporter: did he tell you
why? >> no. >> reporter: did you take the pills? >> i took the pills. >> reporter: what do you remember after the pills? >> feeling drugged, and i was kind of leaning forward, and he was behind me having sex with me. and i -- i remember it because it was not good. >> reporter: so you didn't go to police? >> no, you can't tell. because that's bill cosby. nobody will believe you. i was sorry all my life that i wasn't more powerful. i'm sorry i put myself in circumstances where i should have known better. >> reporter: it's okay. i know it's very difficult. >> i'm really sorry. so i'm sorry for my mistakes. but he had no right to do that. >> reporter: she is now one of numerous women making similar, disturbing allegations of a sexual attack by bill cosby. >> i think what makes these
latest developments different is the sheer number. that's one hell of a coincidence if they're all crazy, pathological liars. >> reporter: but that's not the bill cosby most americans remember. >> there's no music coming through the headset. you still bopping to what's left in your brain? >> reporter: he was tv's most trusted funny faced father figure. pitchman for old fashioned family values, and jell-o pudding. warm and wise, and welcome in every living room. >> he was a groundbreaker. he was a trailblazer. he was a national hero. >> reporter: and they trusted him. >> they absolutely trusted him. >> reporter: for decades, nothing shook that trust. cosby was never convicted or even charged with a crime. but in 2005, it all could have come crashing down. >> i'm quite certain that this is the closest cosby ever became to -- to getting arrested. >> reporter: that was the year
one of cosby's alleged attacks became public for the first time. 31-year-old andrea constand told police cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her in his home near philadelphia a year earlier. bruce castor was montgomery county, pennsylvania, district attorney at the time. >> i thought that cosby had engaged in inappropriate behavior and maybe even criminal behavior. >> reporter: but the criminal case was eventually dropped for lack of evidence. con stand then filed a civil lawsuit with cosby. the details are confidential. but constand's lawyers claimed that 13 women were ready to testify that they too had been attacked by cosby. we now know one of them was barbara bowman, who didn't report the alleged assault to police. >> i was convinced. who's going to believe me? he's dr. huxtable, america's favorite dad. >> reporter: this week, cosby's
lawyers called bowman's charges "decades-old discredited allegations." as for therese serignese, her account is complicated. like many of the women. and after that first horrible night that you've described, you called him and went back to see him. >> i did. >> reporter: did you ever have sex with him again? >> i probably did. >> reporter: so everything you did after that first night sounds like not only was it consensual, but you were the one who instigated it. >> oh, that's an interesting way to phrase it, isn't that? i would say i never was an active participant in any sexual intercourse with him. i never gave the impression that i wanted sex with him whatsoever. i would say, from my perspective, that i was used. >> reporter: so why are all these women coming out now? ironically, the triggering event may have been a fellow comedian. last month, a video clip posted
by philadelphia magazine went viral. it shows comedian hannibal buress taunting cosby. >> i can talk down to you because i had a successful sitcom. so it brings you down. couple notches. >> reporter: that unleashed an anti-cosby blizzard on social media. >> it went viral and everybody suddenly thought, "this guy says to google, 'bill cosby rapist.' what happens if i do that?" and they found out. >> reporter: cosby's lawyers are telling "20/20" tonight, the new never before heard claims of women who came forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated fantastical stories have escalated far past the point of absurdity. it is long past time for them to stop. cosby himself has adamantly refused to comment. watch what happens when an associated press reporter dares to ask about the claims. >> i have to ask about when your name coming up in the news.
recently, earn regarding this comedian -- >> we don't answer that. can i get something from you -- >> what's that? >> that none of that will be shown. >> reporter: the days of america looking the other way about allegations against bill cosby seem to be over. with more women continuing to come forward almost every day, three tv networks have now pulled the plug on cosby shows. performances are being cancelled nearly daily. there are many, though, saying that in the first paragraph of that obituary, will be mentioned that he was accused of drugging and assaulting and raping more than a dozen women. >> this will be a permanent mark on his legacy that will never go away. but, i've seen lesser stars come back from bigger hits. >> reporter: do you think bill cosby belongs in prison? >> i am not a punishing kind of person. i've been sorry for 38 years. now it's time for him to be sorry. >> we're live on twitter and facebook tonight. we want to know what you think. >> do you believe the women or cosby?
or is it more complicated? use #abc2020. elizabeth and i will be right back. next, when your best friend -- >> oh my god, i love you. >> becomes your worst enemy, robbing you behind. >> i felt like my whole world was falling apart. >> but watch the takedown, just as our cameras were rolling. >> i can't believe it. frenemies, coming up. cleaning again. uh-oh, dudes... come in! let's get this party started. let's bubble! we don't just kill 99.9% of germs. we're also approved for tougher cleaning jobs. 99.9% of germs and approved for tougher cleaning. that's a reason to celebrate. you really think they need one? we work hard so you don't have to. sc johnson, a family company.
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she got their trust, then she was suspected of getting pretty much everything else. their money, credit cards, even passport. that's what a slew of young women are saying about a woman they thought was their bff. chris connelly tonight, following her on the run over months and thousands of miles. leading us to ask, with friends like these, who needs enemies? ♪ >> reporter: it seems that few could set it off in a club like 24-year-old vicheka ly. >> over the top for everything. >> reporter: rocking a micro-mini with looks to thrill. >> a lot of crop tops, tight pants, sexy. >> reporter: the woman who called herself "vee" enjoyed life on the dance floor. >> she loved dancing, drinking. >> reporter: at hotspots in and
around portland, oregon. >> she likes attention. >> reporter: she liked to stir stuff up, right? >> right, yeah. >> reporter: vee's relentlessly over-the-top attitude had its offbeat appeal for young women like sonja. >> i didn't even know the girl, and it was like, oh my god, i love you, we need to hang out again. >> reporter: for leilani. >> she uses her cuteness to make friends and boyfriends. >> reporter: and for 22-year-old taylor nunes. this aspiring pastry chef says that at the start of their four-month friendship last spring, vee was sweet as pie. >> your hair is so beautiful. oh, i love your dress. oh, your skin is so nice. okay, that's like a lot of compliments. >> reporter: but away from the bright lights and loud music, taylor and the others would come to suspect that vee was a serial identity thief and that she and her famous duck face liked to stick her pals with the bill. >> she was really good at telling her lies. she's a professional liar and a thief. >> reporter: despite early misgivings, taylor became pals with vee, who'd had money to take her shopping.
she'd even console taylor after the death of her beloved chihuahua, leopold. >> after that she was constantly there for me i thought i could trust her. >> reporter: before long, vee had picked out this apartment for the two of them to share. so obviously, both your names are on the lease because you were renting it together. >> should've been. she doesn't have rental history so her name couldn't be on the lease. >> reporter: that's what she told you. >> that's what she told me. >> reporter: pretty soon, strange things started happening. $400 in unfamiliar charges turned up on taylor's credit card. then on a shopping run, vee flashed some big-time cash. >> and she's buying like $2,000 worth of bedroom and house stuff and she was going through her wallet. and there was so much money in there. >> reporter: only 24 hours later, when taylor checked her bedroom for the money, did she have an idea where vee had gotten all that cash. >> she stole my social security
card, debit cards and $13,000 in cash. of you, she was buying stuff nt with the money she had stolen from you 24 hours before? >> yeah. i knew that it was her who had to have taken it. this is my bedroom. >> reporter: when taylor took us to the scene of the alleged crime, her feelings of violation and betrayal were still vivid. >> i was so distraught, i couldn't even stand on my own two feet. i felt like my whole world was falling apart. >> reporter: along with taylor's life savings, something small but precious to her was also missing. >> my really expensive, hair straightener when she was the only person in my room. >> reporter: in days, vee had gone from friend to frenemy. now she was gone, period. >> she said she was going to go to l.a. for a week. >> reporter: that was three months ago and still no vee. >> why do you think, out of all your friends in your circle, she picked you? >> 'cause i'm gullible. i'm not very good at hiding my vulnerability, and i believe she pray preyed on that.
>> reporter: 16.6 million americans were victims of identity fraud in 2012 and only 9% got the police involved. but taylor did. do you think vee qualifies as a frenemy? >> yeah. she's absolutely a frenemy because she's your friend, and then absolutely your enemy. in addition to the cash she took from taylor, she also stole taylor's credit card. >> reporter: detective patrick altiere picked up taylor's case in late august, spearheading the investigation into vee's activities. his check of open cases showed that this wasn't the first time vee had been accused of putting her pals through the spin cycle. >> she sought out a certain type of person, became friends with that person and then would victimize them a little bit over time before doing something to cause her to cut ties with that person and leave. >> we were best friends. we hung out every single day. >> reporter: 25-year-old leilani gutierrez says she and vee were also b.f.f.s once. not for months, but for years! she was even a guest at her wedding. >> she is very bubbly and very positive all the time. >> reporter: then something snapped.
after six years of friendship, vee blew it all in one 36-hour spree late last spring, swiping leilani's passport and credit card, she says, after they'd gone shopping together and then going buck-wild with it on her own. >> some clubs, cab rides. she tried to buy airline tickets. >> reporter: on your credit card? >> yeah. 13 airline tickets. >> reporter: have you spoken to her since? >> nope. >> reporter: sonja cecil remembers vee laying it on with a trowel. she was rich, she was studying pediatrics, she had basketball star jeremy lin reading her biblical verses. she's actually telling you these things? >> yes, and i really hope it's not true. he knows better that. >> reporter: when sonja couldn't find another roommate, vee moved in. the rent? yeah, about that. vee ditched months later, leaving $3,600 unpaid. what happened to that friendship? >> when you think that your friend is lying to you for an extended period of time, it just dissolves.
this is all of her bedding. >> reporter: to help track down her former friend, taylor went from victim to crime fighter at detective altiere's request, even getting vee on the phone. >> taylor was an amazing, amazing person to work with as far as victims go. taylor confronted vee about the credit card. >> and she admitted to everything for that. >> reporter: but when taylor couldn't lure vee back to the apartment where she'd be arrested, she went public, like for this report on local news in portland. >> deputies need your help finding a young woman who stole thousands of dollars after weaseling her way into friendships. >> i don't want anyone to feel this way again. she stole my trust. she broke me. >> she could be doing this right now. >> probably is. and it needs to stop. >> reporter: with vee on the run we brought these three women together, now united in their crusade against vee. but even with the law on her trail, vee couldn't stop instagramming her whereabouts and her crop-topped cut-offed physique. this is her at the hollywood sign. how about this picture from las
vegas. >> her hair color keeps changing. >> we have all these pictures of her. they haven't caught her yet. how is that possible? >> someone else to come forward and say, "hey, she's staying with me right now." >> reporter: you think someone else has to go through what taylor or what you went through or what leilani went through? >> it doesn't matter. because it's all too late. she is one step ahead of the game every single fricken' time. >> reporter: when we come back, who is vee? her sister reveals the family secrets and a stunning break in the case. >> she was in l.a. some girl called in a tip. >> reporter: you'll see it all as it happened, next.
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instagram to a host of one-time pals from portland whom she'd allegedly ripped off for tens of thousands in cash, trips and luxury goods. happy halloween, suckers! >> i stayed home on halloween because i was too upset because of her. because i couldn't face going out because i hate her so much. >> reporter: taylor nunes says she lost everything to vee from her $13,000 in life savings to her $200 hair straightener. but taylor fought back -- setting up a facebook page dedicated to finding vee and getting detective patrick altiere to look for vee in portland, vegas, even l.a. sonja cecil felt certain vee's last dance was drawing near. >> we're going to find her. where can she run and hide? come on, you got this. you're the reason she's going to get caught. so when she's in jail, you can
go visit her and just laugh in her face. >> reporter: vee spinning a web of lies large and small. >> she said that her dad would give her thousands of dollars when she was sad. >> she told me that her mom had just died of breast cancer. >> reporter: so, who was the real vee ly? this person had the answers -- vee's estranged older sister, marie ly -- who can recall the horrors she saw before her family fled war-ravaged cambodia. >> maybe she's not endured life like i am, where witness death in front of you. >> reporter: and vee, she never saw these things? >> no. >> reporter: vee's parents struggled to succeed doing farmwork and wanted their daughters to live the american dream. for vee, her sister says, it was more like "american hustle." >> i don't think she wants to work. maybe she expects people to hand her stuff because she was spoiled. >> reporter: sweet-faced as a youngster, vee never graduated high school, marie says. last year, marie took in vee,
offering room and board in exchange for some nanny work. but then one night they were horrified to find their hidden lock box with $10,000 missing. >> and my husband screams, from upstairs. he's like -- "money's gone." my heart just dropped. "vee, did you take my money?" so she denys it. i said, "who else is have access to my room but you?" >> reporter: did she stay in your house after that? >> no, she never come back. >> reporter: if you can't trust your sister? >> you can't trust anybody. >> reporter: now vee is on the run, wanted in two oregon counties for forgery and identity theft. vee deletes her social media accounts. location unknown. on the evening of november 12th, taylor feels certain that vee will hit some big-city clubs for her birthday the following night. >> she's going to find as many rich people to hang around as possible and celebrate her birthday there.
>> reporter: yet at that same moment, a thousand miles to the south in los angeles, new friends have grown suspicious of the club-hopping, money-mooching, teller-of-tall-tales young woman who's been crashing on their couch. when they google her name, margeaux vallee and jamie chareon are flabbergasted by what they find. >> there's facebook pages that are dedicated to finding her, twitter accounts. immediately i look at jamie and said, "this girl is psycho." like, there's something wrong with her completely. so, we call the cops. >> reporter: in portland,less than three hours later, detective altiere is sitting down with "20/20" when suddenly his phone blows up. the lapd has nabbed vee. and after, he tells taylor the news -- >> oh! i can't even feel my legs. >> reporter: months of pent-up emotions are at last unleashed. >> we did it.
i thought this wasn't going to happen. i did it. i got vee ly arrested! i can't believe it! >> reporter: we scramble upstairs as events unfold rapidly. >> yeah, that's actually, she's actually the victim in one of our warrants. >> vee, you messed with the wrong girl. >> reporter: it's a pretty spectacular night, isn't it? >> it's great. i'm happy for taylor. >> hi, this is taylor. >> reporter: then, a phone call from portland to l.a. >> you have no idea how grateful i am that you called the police tonight. >> thank you. >> thank you. if it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have found her and this wouldn't have happened. >> reporter: oh, and remember taylor's $200 hair straightener? the one vee ran off with. >> do you have a red straightener? >> a red straightener? yes! >> oh my god, that's my straightener! >> yup, we have it! >> reporter: the next day, marie ly is sharing her stories of the estranged sister she hasn't heard from in nearly a year. but do you know what day in your
sister's life this is? >> it's her birthday. >> reporter: do you know where she is right now? >> i have no idea. >> reporter: she's in l.a. countyail. >> for real? >> reporter: she was arrested last night in los angeles. >> oh, my god. she has to pay for what she did. she needs to admit it that "i need help." there's no excuse. >> we have to carry this up three flights. >> reporter: just two days ago, with "20/20" footing the bill and the detective's okay, a back box from l.a. arrives at taylor's house. leilani and sonja sort through it for their stuff. and sure enough, the item that means so much to taylor. >> look what we got, ladies! my red straighter in. >> there are the shoes that vee bought with my credit card and was wearing around in my house. >> reporter: but however vee might have preyed on their openness and vulnerability, these young women weren't afraid to make some new friends.
>> we'll toast to vee for our new friendship. >> group hug. well, vee has a hearing in los angeles this coming monday, and faces five felony convictions. >> the question for you at home, have you ever been betrayed by a friend? let us know on twitter and facebook. use the #abc2020. next, craigslist. it's a name everybody knows. but what you don't know about their sellers? >> you're selling items that can kill children. watch what happens when we track down craig himself. >> you don't want to speak about these allegations at all? >> when we come back. 1234r507 i kept on top of things. i was energetic. then the chronic, widespread pain drained my energy. my doctor and i agreed, moving more helps ease fibromyalgia pain. she also prescribed lyrica. for some patients, lyrica significantly relieves fibromyalgia pain and improves physical function.
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home. why doesn't craigslist remove them? abc's brian ross chased down the man with the famous name. >> mr. newmark, brian ross, abc news, how are you? >> reporter: the face of this 61-year old san francisco man may not be well known. but his name is, at least his first name. it's craig, craig newmark, the founder of craigslist, the online site that in less than two decades has revolutionized classified advertising. and has made craig a very wealthy man, and he boasts of using technology for the public good. >> i've been encountered by brian ross for abc news. >> reporter: when we showed up to ask him about allegations that his craigslist might actually be harming the public good, he refused to answer our questions. how do you respond to that? >> brian, how have you been doing? it's been a long time since we've spoken. >> reporter: this is what craig newmark did not want to talk about with "20/20." the bumbo baby booster seats recalled for safety defects, but still for sale on craigslist.
the recalled wooden storage chests that can trap children inside, still for sale on craigslist. the recalled dishwashers that can burst into flames, for sale on craigslist. all despite pleas from the government to do what others do to block their sales. >> they do not and will not do it to date. >> reporter: and what do you say about that? >> i think it's morally irresponsible. >> reporter: as the father of two children, and the newly appointed chairman of the consumer product safety commission, elliott kaye is on a tear about unsafe products that were officially recalled but remain in american homes, responsible for horrible accidents. >> they're devastating. i live in fear every day of that happening to my children. >> reporter: kaye says manufacturers are to blame for not doing enough to get the word out about the recalls, but so too, he says, is craigslist for allowing recalled items to be posted for sale. so they're selling or advertising items, posting items that could kill children? >> correct.
and it is illegal to sell a recalled item. >> reporter: but it happens all the time, as we saw in a "20/20" undercover investigation, conducted with abc stations across the country. this is a recalled dehumidifier that can start fires. in chicago, wls tv found this woman who was appalled to learn the dehumidifier she was trying to sell was under recall. >> the thought of passing it on to somebody else, and it could have possibly caused a fire, is devastating to even think of. >> reporter: in charlotte, wsoc tv. were they part of any recalls? >> no. >> reporter: listing a recalled baby monitor and a bumbo baby seat. when i tell you they're recalled, what do you think? >> i feel bad for selling them. >> reporter: in indianapolis, wrtv reporters used craigslist to find one of those recalled lane wooden chests with the sticky lock that has trapped children inside, killing them. >> is there anything wrong with it? other than the fact you can't
open it? >> there's nothing wrong with it. >> reporter: our investigation found that americans stand little chance in the game of what could be called recall roulette. up to tens of millions of items recalled every year for safety defects, very, very few are actually widely publicized and therefore turned in or fixed. in some cases as low as 5% actually accounted for. in utah, the parents of addisyn groesbeck say the recall system failed them. their little girl fractured her skull and suffered a brain injury when she was six months old. >> her doctor bluntly said she was as close to death as a person can be without dying. >> reporter: addisyn's father had put her in that popular bumbo baby booster seat, placed on the kitchen counter at breakfast time and she somehow fell out. >> hit this door extremely hard. hard enough to make it come up and then was there on the floor, screaming. >> reporter: only as they prayed for addisyn's recovery did the family learn the bumbo they bought at a store had been under
recall, and supposedly fixed with a warning label added about accidents when used on an elevated surface. they say they never heard about the possible danger and did not notice the warning on the back and are now suing the company. ♪ next time won't you sing with me ♪ >> good job. >> reporter: did you have any idea that you had an unsafe product? >> no, no. >> reporter: you never heard anything about it? >> no. >> we wouldn't have used it. >> i would have thrown it away. >> reporter: the company that makes the bumbo has since added a safety belt and put videos warning of the danger online. >> only the seat on floor or level ground surface. >> reporter: and they say it's up to the parents to use their products safely. >> these are all recalled products. >> reporter: at the heart of the problem, according to the women who run the safety group kids in danger, is the recall system itself. it's all voluntary for the manufacturers of products found to have safety defects. >> there's no requirement that they do advertising.
there's no requirement that they get back a certain number of products. >> reporter: no requirement at all for any of that? >> no. >> it's their responsibility. it's their dangerous product that they put into the marketplace. and they should not rest until they get all of them back. >> reporter: and the consumer product safety commission says another chance to prevent accidents is lost because craigslist has refused to do what amazon and ebay have done to filter out dangerous, recalled items. so ebay does it? amazon does it. craigslist? >> does not do it. will not do it. has not done it. but should do it. >> reporter: craigslist says it has an automated system to help prevent the posting of recalled items. but it doesn't always work. when we tried to post a recalled bumbo baby booster seat on amazon, it was automatically blocked. on ebay, our ad was pulled off line a day after we posted it, citing the safety recall. but on craigslist, no problem when we posted the potentially dangerous bumbo seat. craigslist says it does not
control what is posted by its sellers. >> i think it is morally irresponsible. >> reporter: how do you respond to that? >> brian, how have you been doing? it's been a long time since we've spoken. >> reporter: i want to ask you about that specific allegation. >> i am not a spokesperson for craigslist, nor have i been in management since the year 2000. >> reporter: are you unable to answer these questions? >> i'd also like the contact information for your news director. and your producer, please. >> reporter: craig list says it notifies its users that recalled products can't be sold. on the posting page, and here on a 22-line long list of prohibited categories. >> so who looks at this. other than you? >> very few people. i'm certain the lawyer who drafted it looked at it a number of times before it was posted, but beyond that, this is the type of different effort that i'm talking about. >> reporter: so this doesn't do it? >> i don't think so. evidenced by the fact that there are still products every day. >> reporter: again and again, our abc station partners including reporters in seattle,
san francisco, washington, d.c., richmond, lafayette, louisiana, austin, texas, and tyler, texas, found recalled, potentially dangerous bumbo seats for sale on craigslist, the ones without the safety strap added. an outrage to the parents of little addyson, who almost died in a bumbo seat. >> it's ridiculous. i think it's -- >> i think it's criminal. >> reporter: but try as we might, craig newmark, who talks about serving the public good, did not want to talk about the recalled potentially deadly products for sale on the site he founded. >> i appreciate your time. you guys have to do this kind of thing. >> reporter: we want to get your answers, your side of the story. is it not possible to get your side of the story? >> good to meet you, thank you. >> reporter: craig, you don't want to speak about these allegations at all? next, nanny nightmares.
you think you can catch them on tape, but not if they catch you first. but she's about to get more time on camera. >> we just want to get your side of the story. >> when we track her down. when, "who can you trust" returns. those seats mysteriously vanish. why? all the flights you want are blacked out. or they hit you up for some outrageous number of miles. switch to the venture card from capital one. with venture, use your miles on any airline, any flight, any time. no blackout dates. and with every purchase you'll earn unlimited double miles. now we're getting somewhere. what's in your wallet?
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now, more of "20/20"'s who can you trust. here's paula faris with nightmare nannies. >> time to eat. >> reporter: raising a child can be tough and when both parents work, sometimes a nanny is the only answer. open wide! but do you really know who is taking care of your child? especially when nannies have been caught on camera, doing the unthinkable. nightmare nannies, accused of violating a most sacred trust, back in the headlines, just last month. >> you see these horror stories
on tv and it's like a surreal feeling when it happens to you. >> reporter: in springdale, arkansas, in the shadow of the ozarks, one mother is on a crusade to stop nightmare nannies before they ever walk through the front door. do you ever think about, i hired a monster? >> yes. >> reporter: it began when whitney matney and her husband chris were looking for a nanny for their daughter raylee while whitney attended law school. a former high school classmate, melissa medema answered the callout. someone whitney thought she could trust, but still -- you ran background checks. >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: did you call references? >> one raved about her. raylee seemed to really take to her. so i ended up hiring her. >> reporter: but almost immediately, raylee started acting strangely. >> when melissa showed up raylee would run to either my husband chris or i and cling to us and scream. so i put up this camera. >> reporter: and after just the first day recording, whitney knew the nanny cam captured something terrible, before she
watched a frame of video. >> i got home and i saw the camera sitting there. facing the wall. my heart just leapt in my throat. and i grabbed the camera, and i set my computer up. >> reporter: to her horror, the camera caught melissa spanking, and then violently shaking her 11-month-old baby girl. how hard is it to see that? >> it's very hard. >> reporter: frankly, hard for me to watch it too. and you can see raylee screaming. >> it didn't sink it at first, i just, i couldn't believe it. you know? >> reporter: melissa would later claim they were "just playing," but how do you explain this? right after the shaking, melissa spots the camera, walks over to it and stares into the lens, posing for a chillingly calm and candid selfie before turning it toward the wall. >> i was filled with rage and fury, like i've never been before. >> reporter: after watching the video, frantic, whitney calls police and rushes her daughter to the emergency room. >> the police officer said, i think if you hadn't caught this when you did, you would have
come home and had no baby anymore. >> reporter: luckily, raylee is physically okay. and whitney realized her daughter's behavioral changes were actually warning signs. >> i should have caught it sooner. everything fits now. >> reporter: incredibly, two days later melissa shows up again for work, and police are waiting to bring her in. peeking through a window, whitney records that moment, assuring little raylee, she's safe now. >> she's not coming in, baby. >> you really can't do too much to confirm that you are hiring the right person. >> reporter: in home child care expert susan tokoyer says you need to do diligent background checks and digital digging. but even in this age of nanny cams, some things need to be done old school. >> dropping in during the day is a great idea. walking in the front door when she is not expecting you. >> reporter: now here's where things get really scary. because raylee wasn't physically injured, melissa was allowed to
plead to endangering the welfare of a minor, the lowest level felony charge, and after three years' probation she could have her record cleared. >> if this monster can walk around and have no ramifications, it's just beyond insane. >> reporter: now you'd think in this digital age, nightmare nannies would be branded for life, but ironically it's something the web lacks that may allow their past to stay under the radar. so there's not a national registry for child abusers? >> correct. >> reporter: that's right, aside from sex offenders, there's no public online registry of child abusers in this country. whitney, now a mom on a mission, to change that. >> in 2015, we're going to send out a bill. arkansas will be the first state to have one, if it passes. anybody who has been criminally convicted, they need to be listed out there for everyone to see. >> reporter: and what does melissa have to say about all of this? we tracked her down at this springdale, arkansas, apartment complex. can you tell us what happened in that video melissa?
we're here to get your side of the story. it seems melissa isn't in the mood for another close-up. do you think that was child abuse? will you nanny for another family? were you trying to harm raylee? >> go away. >> reporter: shortly after our visit, she gave me a call to let us know exactly how she was feeling. >> paula, this is melissa medima and you came to my residence this morning. first of all i do not appreciate that. do not come back to my residence, do not contact me, and that goes for all abc news reporters. >> do you think that was child abuse? we showed whitney the footage of melissa scurrying away from our cameras. >> it makes me sick to my stomach. because she was horrible to my child. >> reporter: the good news? raylee just turned three and seems to have put that babyhood trauma behind her. how is she doing? >> she's great. she is energetic, sassy.
she's always smiling. >> reporter: she's learning that even scary stories have valuable lessons. >> what to do if the monster of the woods comes calling on a dark and stormy night. lock the door. wow. have you ever had a nightmare nanny? let us know, use #abc2020. when we come back, we the legendary director, too many movies to count, you'll remember him for sure as we remember mike
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satisfaction guaranteed. you get used to food odors you think it smells fine, but your guests think it smells like this... ( sound effects ) febreze air effects works instantly to eliminate odors you've gone noseblind to. it smells so much better! so you and your guests can breathe happy. tonight here, we look back at an extraordinary life, the director mike nichols. who gave us the "graduate," "working girls" --
he made us laugh, he made us cry. most importantly, he made us think. he was married to our dear friend diane sawyer and we were lucky to know him, too. >> martha graham. martha graham. martha graham. >> i have a head for business and i have a body made for sin. >> i don't want a job. i want you. >> movies, making them, seeing them, is not something that could ever lose its pleasure for me. that puts them on a short list of things that eternally give me joy. >> mike nichols had a mind that never stopped. known in hollywood and broadway for his many gifts, among them, getting actors to do great work. his first movie, "who's afraid of virginia wolff?" >> i have to find some way to get at you. "the graduate". >> you're trying to seduce me,
aren't you? "the bird cage," he was part of a rare group with an oscar, a tony, an emmy and a grammy. >> mike nichols. >> you see before you a happy man -- >> he's happiest when surrounded with his family and the woman he married in 1998. >> good night moon, good night stars. i'll see you on the set and on the beach and in the kitchen, and at the movies. >> an extraordinary man. our thoughts go out tonight to diane, the children and grandchildren. i'm elizabeth vargas. >> and i'm david muir. from all of us here at "20/20" and abc news, good night.
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